Saturday, June 19, 2010

One Year Ago Today


I can't believe it was a year ago that my hubby and I were celebrating our 10 year anniversary in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It is the day we also started bonding with our son, Nicholas (then called Roma). He has been home 9 months and it has been filled with many challenges and many joys. He is teaching us about how the human spirit can overcome challenges and he continues to teach us about parenting! Some days and weeks can be rough when he is dysregulated and angry, then he can turn around and become so sweet and loving and joyful about life. I hope with time that we will see his sweet and funny personality more and more.

He is so bright! His speech and vocabulary amazes everyone when they find out he has only been here 9 months. Some people do not realize he was adopted internationally. He is always trying to figure out how things work. He will study a toy car's tire to see how it spins or as last night at Olivia's ballet recital, he was trying to figure out which lights were pointed to different points on stage. He is interested in books and words and is definitely pre-reading, although, he would rather build with blocks, or play a video game, or build guns or watch a movie. He is still very active, although I'm not sure he is hyperactive as he was diagnosed in Kazakhstan. Rather he is hypervigilent, especially in new situations and around new people.

The girls really love Nicholas and for Claire he has become a playmate. I have noticed recently that Nicholas wants to stay near me. When we went to the beach, he and Claire would play near the water for awhile while I watched and kept calling them to stay nearby. Then Nicholas wanted to dig in the sand but near me. He also comes to find me in the house to show me something or to see what I'm doing, I know this is a sign of him 'checking in' with me. We have developed a deep level of trust and I can tell he has bonded well with all of us. I think we are fortunate that he only spent about 10 months in the babyhouse, he must have bonded closely with his birthmother sometime before that.

He is a great little traveler. When we go on trips, he gets so excited and he is getting better about staying close to us when we go to places where there are crowds. Although he has gotten better, he is not at a place where he can go to Disneyland yet. The girls miss it since we used to go a lot, but maybe one of us can take the girls just for one day. We know Nicholas will love Disneyland, but it would be too much for him and too stressful for him (well, us, too) at this point. Hopefully within the next year we will see more improvement.

He has been in summer preschool at his same preschool but he had some difficulty with this transition. I think it was especially hard that his teacher left on vacation as he became attached to her. She was so good with him, but he will see her when school starts again. Although she is a fabulous preschool teacher, I think it will be good for him to have a different teacher. He needs to learn that he will have different people in his life and he will move on when he goes off to Kindergarten after another year of preschool.

With the end of the school year, hubby and I took a much needed weekend away together while his parents stayed with the kids. With that and the transition to summer preschool, Nicholas had a really hard time. The grandparents stayed for a few days and then left, but came back about a week later with the kids' cousin who stayed for several days. Nicholas got into trouble a lot at school for biting and hitting and one incident of spitting. We focused on what he can do when he gets mad and that he absolutely has to share and take turns. Maybe this was a step back, but things have gotten better again after our visitors left and he continues to move forward.

We are looking forward to having a fun summer of camps, trips and of just enjoying our backyard pool and playdates.